Is your advertising as smart as your customers?

Is your advertising as smart as your customers?

One of the most dangerous phrases in marketing is, “people won’t understand.” It is based on the assumption that as mass marketers, we should always speak to the lowest common denominator of intelligence. This way of thinking has three fundamental flaws:

It breaks the “one on one” law. (Okay, it’s not a law, but we live by it at 3.)

The irony of mass communication is that a message can’t feel like it was created for a mass of people. You are speaking, in each and every message you create, to a single person. Even though millions of people may see your message, only one person at a time is interacting with the message. There is no collective watching, only many people having individual experiences. If you lose sight of this, every message you create could become meaningless on a personal level.

When people are engaged, they are damn smart.

You’ve done your homework and know your target. You’ve created a message that not only speaks to your target on an individual level, it will also speak to them based on their knowledge and understanding. This person is going to be engaged because you are solving a problem and/or offering them a benefit that speaks to their current situation. And once you are speaking to someone on their terms, whether they have a doctorate from Harvard or dropped out of eighth grade, you can bet that they are more likely to tune in and be receptive to your message.

Nobody likes being talked down to.

We’ve all seen the surveys that indicate most people believe themselves to be above average intelligence. Only 49% of them are right. If you want to turn someone off in a hurry, speak down to them and pretend you know more. Watch how quickly they dismiss you (and your product).

Respect people in your communications, and they will respect your brand. While it is true that the person you are speaking to is bombarded with advertising and messaging, it is equally true that they will be engaged by intelligent, thoughtful communications.